Hollywood has gone all-in to kowtow to China, and Disney is hoping that it will pay off now that the much-anticipated live-action remake of “Mulan” is facing some pretty fierce backlash.
It seems the movie that was released on Disney+ on September 4–for $29.99 in addition to the subscription fee–has been plagued with problems since it was announced that it was in development in 2016.
“Mulan” purists were upset that the live-action version is no longer a musical, has dispensed with the comical dragon, Mushu, because he was hated in China, and has a PG-13 rating.
Some of the problems also involve the star, Liu Yifei, who was once named one of China’s worst actresses.
If that wasn’t bad enough, with the global pandemic coming out of China, it turns out that Wuhan is where Yifei is from.
Liu Yifei, star of Disney’s live-action remake of Mulan, lives in Beijing, but she is originally from Wuhan, epicenter of the coronavirus. In January, the 32-year-old actress left China for Los Angeles to begin press for the film, weeks before the virus’ outbreak, which has now infected more than 77,000 people, killed more than 2,500 and wreaked havoc in her home country. She says she doesn’t have any family or close friends personally affected by the disease — she left Wuhan when she was 10 — but the epidemic has added an impossible-to-foresee variable to her film’s March 27 worldwide release.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter
But wait! There’s more…
Yifei posted support for the Hong Kong Police crackdown on pro-democracy protesters on social media. You know, those brutal, authoritarian arrests of peaceful protesters who are demanding that the Chinese Communist Party live up to the “one nation, two systems” promise that was made? Yeah, she supports that. She posted support for Hong Kong police to her 66 million followers on Weibo.
Liu Yifei, the live-action film’s star, first angered fans last year with comments reportedly supporting Hong Kong’s police, who have been accused of violence towards pro-democracy protesters.
Now Thai and Taiwanese activists are also telling people not to see Mulan…
…During a period of unrest Chinese-born actress Liu Yifei – who’s an American citizen – shared a post from the government-run Beijing newspaper People’s Daily on Weibo.
“I support the Hong Kong police. You can all attack me now. What a shame for Hong Kong,” it read.
Source: BBC News
She wasn’t the only one, however. One of Yifei’s costars was also criticized by pro-democracy activists for celebrating the anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to China.
Her “Mulan” co-star Donnie Yen, was also criticized by activists after posting a comment on Facebook celebrating the 23rd anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to China from British colonial rule in July.
The comments caused a stir on social media, spawning the #BoycottMulan hashtag, which regained prominence over the weekend on the film’s release. This, in turn, became part of the wider #MilkTeaAlliance hashtag on Friday, which has united some pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Thailand. It is named after the popular sweet drink common in those countries.
Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong, on Friday, supported calls to boycott the movie, which will debut in Chinese cinemas later this month. In the United States, it will skip theaters going straight to the Disney+ streaming service due to the pandemic.
Source: NBC News
Pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong blasted Disney, Yifei, and Yen for their bootlicking of the Chinese Communist Party and turning a blind eye to the regime’s authoritarianism.
This film is released today. But because Disney kowtows to Beijing, and because Liu Yifei openly and proudly endorses police brutality in Hong Kong, I urge everyone who believes in human rights to #BoycottMulan. https://t.co/utmP1tIWNa
— Joshua Wong 黃之鋒 ? (@joshuawongcf) September 4, 2020
Wong also retweeted a tweet with photos of Donnie Yen in blackface in 2012.
— Joshua Wong 黃之鋒 ? (@joshuawongcf) September 4, 2020
But if all of that wasn’t enough, it seems that portions of the sweeping epic were filmed in Xinjiang–the area of China that has concentration camps for the minority Uighur population.
Disney’s live-action remake of Mulan, already the target of a boycott, has come under fire for filming in Xinjiang, the site of alleged widespread human rights abuses against Uighurs and other Muslim minorities…
…After the film’s release last Friday, observers noted another controversial element: in the final credits Disney offers “special thanks” to eight government entities in Xinjiang, including the public security bureau in Turpan, a city in eastern Xinjiang where several re-education camps have been documented.
The film also expresses thanks to the “publicity department of CPC Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomy Region Committee”, the Chinese Communist party’s propaganda department in Xinjiang. Disney has been approached for comment.
China has faced international scrutiny over its treatment of Muslim minorities in Xinjiang, where it is estimated at least 1 million residents have been detained in extrajudicial internment camps. Uighur women have reported forced sterilisations and birth control as part of a government campaign to suppress birthrates, in what experts have described as “demographic genocide”.
Source: The Guardian
The movie was filmed in 20 locations in China, including the Mingsha Shan desert in Xinjiang, and the Tuyuk Valley, an oasis village east of Turpan. Unfortunately for Disney, Turpan was the first documented location of the “re-education camps” for Uighurs.
Turpan, whose police Disney thanked at the end of Mulan, is the first documented case of re-education against Muslim minorities in Xinjiang. This Aug 2013 doc speaks of the "re-education" of "focus groups" to "eradicate the soil for the breeding and spread of religious extremism" pic.twitter.com/cMe4PqKl6p
— Adrian Zenz (@adrianzenz) September 8, 2020
In the credits, Disney thanked the people who are currently committing human rights abuses against a minority population.
It just keeps getting worse! Now, when you watch #Mulan, not only are you turning a blind eye to police brutality and racial injustice (due to what the lead actors stand for), you're also potentially complicit in the mass incarceration of Muslim Uyghurs. #BoycottMulan https://t.co/dAMgZ6PWTD
— Joshua Wong 黃之鋒 ? (@joshuawongcf) September 7, 2020
Mulan thanks Turpan Bureau of Public Security because it was filmed in Turpan in 2018, the peak of re-education campaign. How many thousands of Uyghur were put into camps by Turpan Bureau of Public Security when filming Mulan there? https://t.co/yX0xssPnKW
— Shawn Zhang (@shawnwzhang) September 7, 2020
It’s too bad, really.
The original “Mulan” was a great movie and didn’t feel like a forced attempt to grab a market the way some of the other Disney films did. *cough*The Princess And The Frog*cough*
This trailer looks like the live-action version would be spectacular.
It’s interesting that the entire premise of “Mulan”–which is based on a 6th-century Chinese poem–is that a girl did what was right to protect her father in the face of adversity, and became a hero for defying the authority.
But in 2020, Disney is bending the knee to the Chinese Communist Party. Something seems a bit off here, no?
Disney spent $200 million on “Mulan” and we’re about to see if their gamble pays off.
By the way, “Mulan” will be available free to Disney+ subscribers in December should you decide to continue your Disney+ subscription.